Although I don't live very far away from a Kate Spade retail store, I never get to try on all the dresses that tempt me. My store just doesn't carry a lot of clothing. And I don't frequent the fancy suburban mall that houses this store unless I have an explicit reason (for example, if I need to buy a registry gift before attending a friend's wedding). It's difficult to find good deals on this brand and with such sky high prices (even on sale), my budget doesn't leave a lot of room for ebay error.
I've come to rely on blogger fit reviews (from Anjali or Carol, for example) to inform my online sale purchases. And because I am grateful for the info they've shared (and because I've received a few emails with questions about fit for this brand), I decided it could be helpful to share my own. Recently I visited a KS outlet that had tons of clothing (discounted an additional 50% from the lowest price). I also snagged a few dresses for good prices on the Bloomingdales website.
This Candy Shop Jeanette dress was the centerpiece of the Spring 2011 advertising campaign.
Candy Shop Jeanette (sold out online)
Although it was pretty bright, I thought the colors were fun and imagined wearing it to summery events or (because of the rainbow palette) during GLBT pride week. I ordered a 10 because that was the last size remaining (knowing that the two KS shirtdresses I own, named Calista and Violetta are both 8s). The Jeanette runs similarly to the Calista and the Violetta. An 8 would have been a good fit. The 10 was too large in the shoulders and torso. It was also a bit too long. I could have altered it but I didn't envision wearing something this bright frequently enough to make it worth the extra cash. The silk is of a very high quality. The buttons are shiny and gold. The dress is fully lined with pockets, a side zip, and a pink patent belt. It is currently available in the outlet stores for around what I paid on sale at Bloomingdales. I am not sure if the outlets will ship but the Rehoboth Tanger had every size except 8 as of last week. Oh well!
This Jillian dress is released regularly in different colors and prints. I ordered a 10 again (because that was what was available) and found it to be too large in the bodice, waist, and length. There were no Jillians in the outlet I visited. But the dress has a back zip, front pleating that is pocket-like, a full lining, and a pretty bow detail at the waist.
Kate Spade Calista and Violetta
Above are the Calista and the Violetta in size 8. The Calista has shorter sleeves, buttons all the way down the front (eliminating the need for a side zip), and includes carefully pleated ruffles that trim the button placket. It is unlined and made of a thicker silk jersey (almost like a DVF) that offers a bit of stretch. It comes with a matching fabric belt. The Violetta is a thinner but substantive silk fabric with a side zip, puffed sleeves, side pockets, a ruffled placket, and buttons to the waist. It should come with a patent belt.
Kate Spade Nellie and Natalia
In my experience, the Nellie is very similar to the Violetta in terms of fit except the sleeve holes are a bit smaller/more snug. For both of these styles the button placket features a ruffle (slightly more exaggerated with the Nellie) and stops at the waist. They also both have pockets, side zips, and should come with belts. They are both unlined silk. The Natalia is another dress released regularly in various prints. My polka dot version is fully lined. I am wearing a size 8 but the hips are narrower than the shirt dress styles and narrower than the Jillian. The bust has plenty of room. There are pockets, a side zip, and a belt.
Overall, the sizing for this brand is generous and similar to many Anthro lines or Marc by Marc Jacobs. Like anthro or mbmj, a straighter cut skirt or dress requires me to size up due to my hips. I hope this helps you find good deals on a cute brand that can be annoyingly expensive!